The Seminar

(Dedicated to my betters)

Wednesday, 24th. July, 196….; Morning Session (Robert Hansen
and Allen Truport)

                                    discussed sure discussed
WORK HABITS.   Bob ingests, ingests, ingests, so we get those
wonderfully turned —
                                         Allen keeps large notebooks
                                         wherein
                                                        he told us
he notes down EVERYTHING.   a kind of spatial flowing
viewPOINT.

Allen says
                   he writes all the time as much as possible;
                   it’s like hanging a coat in a closet: you’ve
                   got to get in there.    reasonableness may not be
                   enchanting, but said Allen, it is REWARDING.

a big notebook, he said, by God that’s the
                                                                   THING!
           like Genet on the sand
                                                   blowing cock!

Bob said:
                 what the primary interest is and should be is ingesting,
ingesting, a kind of pulmonary percuss indrawn, tightened and
then placed upon the paper, the marble in tight order of grip,
allowing the function to be the (possible) anguish rather than
                        any
                               MESSAGE or a)   art-order
                                                       b)   audience-relationship.

Allen: I want to write
                                       ENOUGH POEMS
                                                                     so that when I die
all the shit will be out of me, I mean the guff, the nonsense,
the turds yes, ah, I mean —- that I have expressed enough
ENOUGH you see to
                                    free me.

R.H. — I realize the standard essence of all your POETRY;
I say content is an extension of form.   we must barter
                 for a firmer divinity.    the conduct of children,
for instance, is fairly free but
                                                     UNFORMED
                                                                           and in the final
multiplication . . .   useless.

              I would say that the difference between
              Hansen and Truport is that Hansen KNOWS
              what he is
                                 doing.

Evening Session (R.H. and A.T.)

Boy says priests should stick to their robes and leave
                   POETRY
                                  to him.

I agree
             with this.

Allen says political poetry or poetry dealing with immediate
         causes and reflections is
                                                      interesting, and interesting
                                                      goes well, badly written
or not, it appears IMPORTANT, it appears sympathetic
and the ONE THING I do not want to do is lose
                                                                                    my AUDIENCE.

Thursday, July 25th.; no classes:
                          a dozen of us had gone over to Buchanan 106
                          for the hell of
                                                   it
                                                      to use the lecture room
                                                           anyhow
but we found some WOMEN in there
and they appeared HOSTILE when we walked in and
even MORE hostile when we began talking about
                                                                                         POETRY.

their hostility is perhaps understandable because we
                                                         DON’T
                                                                     tend to them.

they’ll just have to WAIT until workshop
                                                CLASSES to get a portion of our
attention.

         But it was really something, all of us there together,
talking, TALKING,— Hansen, Truport, Missions, De Costro,
Sevadov, and Starwort, all all
                                                        together
                                                                        here in ONE room was
the heart of American POETRY
                                                        talking, my
                                                                             god.

Friday, July 26th., Morning Session:

        De Costro dominated the whole damned meeting.    he has
        big hands and many
                                              IDEAS.    Truport appears to be afraid
of De Costro.    Hansen cools it.    nobody gets along.
yet there is no
                          YELLING.    these are not only poets.

De Costro says the root of the thing is transferred to the tree
and the tree dies and
                                      becomes HISTORY
                                                                        and that
                                                                                        generally
history is pretty
                             disappointing.    it’s easier to chop down a
tree than a poem, he says.   history chops
                                                                           YOU down.

FUCK ALL MEANING!   Bob suddenly screams.
then, in softer voice:
                                     we ought to discard.

we all agree that feeling is everything and
                            we go out for coffee
                                                                leaving three girls sitting
there with their dresses hiked-up around their
                                                                                      HIPS.

Monday, July 29th.; Morning Session:

       I saw all FIVE OF THEM!!!
                                                      around a desk
                                                                          TOGETHER:
                                                                              Hansen, Truport,
                                                                              De Costro,
                                                                              Starwort and
                                                                              Philip Maxwell.

Phillip didn’t ARGUE didn’t say much
and left before the meeting was OVER
                                                                     but explained he’d wait
OUTSIDE for the free lunch.   his books haven’t been
                                                                       GOING well.

Starwort read his MAN ON A STREETCAR RUNNING
                                                                            BACKWARDS
                                                      from BENT LILY #8.

I couldn’t understand his
                                              READING
                                                                but will have to see
the work in print before I make a
                                                             JUDGMENT.
                                                                                   Maybe Allie Denby
will send me a
                           copy of the issue, tho, alas, I understand it is
now a RARE ITEM
                                 going for 20 dollars out of Fort Lauderdale.
the past can only take place in the PRESENT, if you
                know what I mean, said
                                                            De Costro.

we all
           nodded.

         Truport said he was afraid of being BROKE.    he was
lined up for one more session at the
                                                                  U. of K.
but hadn’t heard much
                                          more.    of course, he’d been moving
around quite a bit     in TOUCH AND
                                                                  OUT OF TOUCH:
Paris, Cuba, the Congo, India, Moscow and Denver, Colorado.

     we spoke of THE CANTOS.
                                      Pound continually tries to find space
AREAS, ARENAS OF CONTOUR for his extra-cerebral power-
            poetic
uningrained . . . uncontrived soul-mind . . . like a . . .    like a
whip lashing against the sides of an old
                                                                       BARN.

     we want a COMPLETE EMERGENCE, said De Costro.
                                nothing half         nothing wilted
                                we want the poetic Christ-thing walking out of
the barn
               and TEACHING —- not from the TOP-down
                              but through and through and
                                                                                    THROUGH.

god damn it to hell, said Starwort.   suddenly.

              in taking my notes I could not fit it into
                              the
                                     conversation.

First Workshop session with R.H.

          he seemed to say a lot that I didn’t understand but
                     the others seemed to understand
                            and the session went well.
Bob looked well.    I had a
                                               HANGOVER.

Wednesday, July 31st., Morning Session (most of us there.)

          there was again the old argument about Caryl Chessman
          Sacco and Van., all of which, I am afraid, I no longer
understand

I am AFRAID
                        I am getting tired
                             although the others appear very
                                           energetic.

I need SECURITY, said Hansen.    I need a perpetual FATHER
         and with a GOOD JOB or my work is
                                                                           HINDERED.

Allen read some of his stuff.    I understand some of it
but FRANKLY, I think he tends to
                                                            holler and OVERSTAGE.

I left with a
                      HEADACHE.

Friday, August 2nd.; Morning Session:

          Allen spoke of some of the poetry he had seen in
          the campus shithouses and said it was pretty
                                                                                             GOOD.
then Wm. Burroughs was discussed
                                              his USE of timely and pertinent
news material that RELATED . . .
                                                      by clipping out words in the paper
and pasting them in DIFFERENT ORDER
                                                                    A NEW ORDER
                                                                                      was established
and a neutralization of time and event
                                                                      WAS
                                                                               established.

THIS WAs imporTANT.   YeS.    I’ll sAY sO.

we all admitted that we often read TIME and
                                                                                  PRAVDA.
          then Allen read
                                      AGAIN
                                                  this time from UNpubliSHeD
                                                                                                         WoRk
dIrEcTlY FrOM The JOuRnAls
                                                      there were 250 people attending
and he read LOUDLY and I had another
                                                                        HANGOVER.

he screamed for FOURTYFIVE MINUTES!    then became
               TERRIBLY
exhausted, you couldn’t hear him, his voice BECAME
a monotonous drone and he asked the audience:

          may I stop now?

          they applauded LOUDLY.

Sunday, August 4th.:

          the janitor had locked all the doors on the campus so
we met at Hansen’s room and drank port wine.    Denise and
Margaret came up but they were SAFE.
          although everyone appeared a little sullen.
          I think it was being LOCKED-OUT like that.

          later in the night Allen grew angry and slapped
          Bob.   then Allen read his poetry again.    it was
          good          being their          altogether          all of us.

I have tried to take the notes and hope you have
                                        APPRECIATED THEM.
next Summer I am sure we will be
                                                               INVITED BACK
and I look forward
                                  EAGERLY
                                                    to these great American poets
and their DISCUSSION of what makes POETRY GO, what it
iS!!!
       AnD To hAVe tHeM rEaD ThEiR OWN WORKS OnCe
                                                  AgAiN.

               —Clyde Tompkins, campus University of L., August 5, 196-

Author
Charles Bukowski
Written
1967
This poem appeared in the following books: